Manhattan Gastroenterology
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Burping more than normal and having burps that are loud and smell awful can be pretty annoying and affect your life and work if you are not careful. It may be a result of some foods you ate last night, excessive intake of air during a meal, or some health condition affecting your digestion. If you are experiencing the rotten egg smell of sulfur burps frequently, accompanied by other signs like abdominal pain or diarrhea, make an appointment to see a board-certified and experienced gastroenterologist at Manhattan Gastroenterology. They analyze your symptoms and determine what factors are affecting your digestive system to cause abnormal burping. The top gastro doctors work hard to find out if any underlying medical issue is causing the burps and come up with the best remedies and medications to help you feel better within no time.

Why do I get sulfur burps and how can I prevent them?
Sulfur Burps

Producing gas is normal for the digestive system. The gas is expelled from the body either through burping from the mouth or flatulence through the rectum. Sulfur burps are characterized by a foul smell that is caused by hydrogen sulfide gas. A burp is a way for the digestive system to release excess gas. This gas is usually air that enters the stomach through the mouth or is a byproduct of bacteria breaking down food.

When bacteria in the mouth and digestive system break down food, it leads to the formation of new compounds. Hydrogen sulfide is one of the byproducts of digestion. While occasional hydrogen sulfide production is normal, excessive production is a sign of a digestive issue. Most burps smell like the food that caused them or the current contents of the stomach.

What Causes Sulfur Burps?

Sulfur burps are those quick, uncontrollable exhales of air that has an acrid smell. There is no single cause of sulfur burps. Burping is a normal part of life, and you may experience burps more frequently due to a change in diet or behaviors. In some cases, it may be a sign of some health condition.

Behavior-related causes of burps may be associated with an excess intake of air. You may swallow too much air by:

  • Eating too quickly
  • Eating when talking
  • Drinking carbonated beverages
  • Overeating
  • Drinking from a straw
  • Chewing gum
  • Sucking on hard candy
  • Having loose dentures

Food and beverages can also lead to a buildup of additional gas in the body. You may find that your body is sensitive to certain types of foods that cause strong-smelling burps.

Foods that can cause a buildup of gas include:

  • Fried foods
  • Fatty foods
  • Foods and drinks that contain lactose
  • Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage
  • Foods high in fiber
  • Garlic and onions
  • Dairy products
  • Beer

Sulfur burps may also be resulting from some underlying health condition or a medication you are taking.

Health conditions that may lead to abnormal burps include:

  • Indigestion
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • IBS – irritable bowel syndrome
  • Gastritis
  • Peptic ulcer disease
  • Infections like Helicobacter pylori and Giardia infection

Other issues can cause or be associated with chronic sulfur burps. These include:

  • Food poisoning
  • Prescription drugs
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Pregnancy

How to Prevent Sulfur Burps

The only way to prevent sulfur burps is to find out what is causing them. You could start by keeping a journal about the foods and drinks you consumed and tracking your daily habits. It is an effective way to isolate the reasons behind your foul-smelling burps.

The following tips may help you prevent sulfur burps:

  • Eat slowly to avoid swallowing air
  • Avoid chewing gum or smoking as these activities can make you ingest excess air
  • Avoid foods high in sulfur
  • Avoid overeating. Try to eat several smaller meals throughout the day to avoid overeating
  • Reduce your alcohol intake as they can be high in sulfur content
  • Reduce or eliminate carbonated drinks
  • Avoid foods high in sugar
  • Stay away from foods rich in carbohydrates. They generally cause excessive gas because the bacteria in the digestive tract feed off sugar and also create hydrogen sulfide gas.

If you notice that certain foods aggravate your condition, try to eliminate these items from your diet temporarily or reduce their intake to see the results. If you believe stress to be the reason behind your sulfur burps, keeping an account of what you are going through will help you look back on the most stressful days. You will be able to look back on the most stressful events and establish a connection between your anxiety and digestive stress.

If you fail to isolate the underlying cause of your burps with journaling, seeking help from your partner or family members may be the right thing. You could also ask the other person to observe you, take a note of your habits and provide insight. You should seek a gastroenterologist to manage your symptoms. The doctor can run several tests to analyze your condition and identify the source of your digestive problems.

Home Remedies That Help with Sulfur Burps

Some people find relief from sulfur burps with natural home remedies. There is no guarantee that these remedies will solve the problem or help everyone with the issue, but they are safe to try and will not worsen your condition or result in any side effects.

Tea

Peppermint, green, or chamomile tea are good for digestion and promote overall health. They not only do away with sulfur burps but also benefit the immune system. Chamomile tea is a natural remedy for gas. It can also help you relax and enjoy a good night’s sleep. In many parts of the world, mint tea is the go-to treatment for an upset stomach. A mint-flavored green tea has the added benefit of freshening your breath.

Drinking Water

Staying hydrated throughout the day can prevent sulfur burps. The increased amount of water in the stomach can help with excessive bacteria growth and support the digestive system in breaking down heavier proteins and sulfur-containing foods. To aid digestion, try to drink at least a glass of water before each meal.

Manuka Honey

Manuka honey is medically-active honey harvested from the tea tree family. It is a unique honey that can protect the digestive lining. It is known to kill harmful bacteria in the digestive tract that result in bad-smelling belches and relieve digestive stress.

Apple Cider Vinegar

The acetic acid in the vinegar keeps the bacteria in the gut from overgrowing. Taking a spoon of apple cider vinegar every day can regularize the growth of bacteria in the digestive tract and keep your digestion balanced.

Baking Soda

Food-grade baking soda, made from sodium bicarbonate, is a natural remedy for relieving many symptoms of digestive problems, including heartburn, ulcer pain, and bad breath. Taking one small spoonful of baking soda in a glass of water can balance the gastric juices and reduce the unpleasant odor of burps.

Foods With Probiotics

Probiotics are foods and products that contain live bacteria. They are considered beneficial to overall health and digestion. Probiotics may be helpful if the bacteria in your digestive tract are unbalanced. Yogurt, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, pickles, miso, tempeh, and kimchi contain high levels of probiotics.

Physical Activity

While you may wonder about its effectiveness, physical activity can help the gas move through the body more quickly and prevent sulfur burps. Walking is the best activity, not only do you burn the large meal you consumed, which is causing the burps, but you also get rid of any gases that might be building up in the intestines.

Experiencing sulfur burps after eating a heavy meal or foods high in sulfur is not harmful, but it can still be bothersome. You can avoid embarrassment and manage your symptoms with these effective home remedies.

Medications to Treat Sulfur Burps

Sometimes home remedies are not enough to prevent or treat sulfur burps, and you need something stronger to keep them at bay. Over-the-counter medications to treat sulfur burps include:

  • Bismuth subsalicylate – Pepto-Bismol is the best option for reducing the sulfur smell of your burps.
  • Simethicone – It helps bind gas bubbles together so you have more productive burps when you want to.
  • Beano – It contains a digestive enzyme that breaks down the hard-to-digest sugars found in carbohydrates, vegetables, and beans.
  • Enzyme lactase – It helps people with lactose intolerance digest dairy.
  • Probiotics – They contain good bacteria that promote healthy digestion. These good bacteria get rid of the harmful bacteria, causing that smelly gas byproduct.

When to See a Doctor?

Burping is a normal, basic function of your body. It is related to other symptoms such as having too much gas, flatulence, bloating, and pain in the stomach that usually occurs after eating a heavy meal or something that did not suit you. However, if your sulfur burps begin to affect your eating habits or daily life, you should seek medical assistance.

See a doctor if your sulfur burps are accompanied by other symptoms, including:

  • Pain in your chest or digestive tract
  • Weight loss
  • Fever
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea

These symptoms may be a warning sign of some health condition and must be checked by a medical professional. The doctor can run diagnostic tests to identify the issues behind the persistent and annoying symptoms and recommend diet and lifestyle changes as well as medications to ease them.

Experiencing sulfur burps occasionally is not something to worry about unless they become excessive or occur with other severe symptoms, which may be something serious. Consult experienced and board-certified gastroenterologists at Manhattan Gastroenterology to learn more about sulfur burps and how they may be affecting your digestive system. The top-rated gastro doctors diagnose the root cause of the problem and recommend dietary and lifestyle changes, remedies, and medications to relieve gas, bloating, and any other issues. The expert physicians make sure you understand what works best for your stomach and help you enjoy better digestive health with the most effective solutions.

Updated on Aug 27, 2022 by Dr. Shawn Khodadadian (Gastroenterologist) of Manhattan Gastroenterology